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Trucks: Hornaday beats dominant Bowyer

An early call to try a fuel-mileage strategy was Ron Hornaday's only hope of beating the utterly dominant Clint Bowyer at Atlanta: and the old master made it work perfectly.
Veteran Camping World Truck Series racer Ron Hornaday Jr. pulled off a surprise victory against his teammate for the day Clint Bowyer, who despite being dominant for most of the night finally succumbed to Hornaday's fuel-mileage strategy in Friday's Good Sam Club 200 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bowyer had looked unbeatable for pretty much the whole night, building up a 4.869s lead in just the first 19 laps of the 1.54 before the first caution of the night came out for Cole Whitt's #60 engine blowing up.

After an accident involving Johanna Long and BJ McLeod on lap 38 brought out the second caution, Kyle Busch took the lead at the restart but clearly didn't have the same raw speed that Bowyer did and was unable to pull away. By lap 53 Bowyer had won a lengthy side-by-side battle with Busch to be able to start pulling out another huge lead, and when the fifth and final caution of the night flew for Timothy Peters spinning in turn 4 on lap 77, Bowyer was untroubled and was soon pulling away again at the restart.

Bowyer had a 6.239s lead over Busch when Kyle came in for his final pit stop on lap 110. Concentrating on the threat of the #18, Bowyer came in next time around to make sure that he too had new tyres for the remaining laps and wasn't caught out.

That was Ron Hornaday's moment to strike: the 53-year-old Truck Series master stayed out to assume the lead, giving up the edge of new tyres and instead playing the fuel mileage game - having last stopped on lap 75 and immediately starting to save gas. He just managed to outrun Bowyer to the chequered flag as a result.

"I told [the crew], 'We don't have the best truck, but we can win by fuel mileage,'" said Hornaday. "See that trophy? We stole it tonight, but I'll take it any way we can get it ... That's cool!"

"I got beat by a guy who snookered me," conceded Bowyer, who admitted that he had needed just one or two laps more to outpace the leader. "He played a better poker hand than I did."

Asked if Bowyer's close battle with Kyle Busch mid-race had sparked any thoughts of opportunities to continue the Harvick/Busch war by taking out the #18, Bowyer replied playfully: "I had orders to wreck him at every chance possible but just couldn't get it done!" before continuing more seriously: "No, man. It's fun racing hard with someone that you know is not gonna crash underneath you. It's cool."

"Glad he could refrain from orders!" replied Busch in similar lighthearted vein. "He tried a couple times ... Nah. It was good hard racing." He conceded that Bowyer's #2 "was definitely the best truck of the night" and added: "He could just stay a lot better on the long run. It seemed like I'd blow the tyres off after about 10 laps and he'd just start getting away from me. Traditional Atlanta, you gotta be better on the long run."




Related Pictures

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Clint Bowyer, driver of the #2 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Dollar General Toyota, lead the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Club 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. [Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]
Ron Hornaday, driver of the #33 Armour/Ingles Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Club 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. [Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images]
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, drives with damage to his car after crashing during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads a line of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference following practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, smiles at Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, prepares for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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